Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic coast of Namibia. Immediately south of Angola, it stretches from the Kunene River to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The indigenous San people (formerly known as Bushmen), of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of Hell".

On the coast, the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called cassimbo by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres (0.39 in) annually, and the climate is highly inhospitable. There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days before engine-powered ships and boats, it was possible to get ashore through the surf, but impossible to launch from the shore. The only way out was by going through a marsh hundreds of kilometres long and...Read more

The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic coast of Namibia. Immediately south of Angola, it stretches from the Kunene River to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The indigenous San people (formerly known as Bushmen), of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of Hell".

On the coast, the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called cassimbo by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres (0.39 in) annually, and the climate is highly inhospitable. There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days before engine-powered ships and boats, it was possible to get ashore through the surf, but impossible to launch from the shore. The only way out was by going through a marsh hundreds of kilometres long and only accessible via a hot and arid desert.

The coast is largely made up of soft sand occasionally interrupted by rocky outcrops. The southern section consists of gravel plains, while north of Terrace Bay the landscape is dominated by high sand dunes.

Skeleton Bay is known as a great location for surfing. The Salty Jackal, a backpackers lodge located in Swakopmund, and Surf Guide Namibia, a local tour guide and surf school are currently the only groups that run guided surf trips along the Skeleton Coast.

 One of many rusting ship hulls along the Skeleton Coast (Dunedin Star)

One of the oldest shipwrecks in the Skeleton Coast region is that of the Bom Jesus, near the town of Oranjemund. It ran aground during the 1530s and is known to be one of the oldest discovered shipwrecks of the Iberian Atlantic tradition in Sub-Saharan Africa.[1] On Thursday, 22 March 2018, a Japanese registered fishing vessel, MVF Fukuseki Maru, got into trouble and ran aground near Durissa Bay, south of the Ugab River mouth, lying 2 km from the Skeleton Coast beach in the ocean. All 24 foreign crew members were rescued by Namibian authorities.[2]

Past human occupation by Strandlopers is shown by shell middens of white mussels found along parts of the Skeleton Coast.

^ Chirikure, Shadreck; Sinamai, Ashton; Goagoses, Esther; Mubusisi, Marina (October 2010). "Maritime Archaeology and Trans-Oceanic Trade: A Case Study of the Oranjemund Shipwreck Cargo, Namibia". Journal of Maritime Archaeology. 5 (1): 40. doi:10.1007/s11457-010-9059-9. JSTOR 23747443. S2CID 162225466. ^ "Japanese fishing vessel stuck near Walvis Bay | Namibia Economist". Archived from the original on 2021-11-05.
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Anagoria - CC BY 3.0
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